Mitt Romney's Defining Moment

First in a Series

Brendan Smialowski / Getty

Mitt Romney.

The official story of how health-care reform was conceived in Massachusetts could hardly have been less inspiring--or promising. In the earliest days after Mitt Romney's election in 2002, goes the tale, the new Governor of Massachusetts sat down in his office with his old friend Tom Stemberg, founder of the Staples office-supply chain. "There are lots of things you can do to make this state better," Stemberg told him. "But if you really want to make a difference in the long term, you should fix the health-care system." Romney did not exactly jump at the prospect. It would cost billions of dollars; he...

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